Wednesday, December 22, 2010
The man who will be Kansas' first Republican governor in eight years is looking ahead with high hopes for the future, including an ambitious plan to convince former Kansans to move back home.
The governor-elect talked a lot about growth during our exclusive interview, saying it's the key to solving the state's fiscal problems and the continued decline in population in rural Kansas.
"I am not at all convinced that we're in a pro-growth tax mix when our tax mix is based on property, sales, and income taxes," Brownback said Wednesday.
Brownback says instead of looking for government to provide citizens programs, the government needs to help provide opportunities. He offers up an idea to get people who used to live in Kansas back.
"If you say 'If you'll move here from out of state... no income taxes for a decade.' It's not a program. It's an opportunity," Brownback explained. "And then you look at people around the country and you say 'Hey, we've got a great idea for you to move home from Chicago."
Brownback is pleased that plans to build a highly controversial coal-fired power plant near Holcomb are moving forward.
"People don't want these lights to flicker. They want to know when they flip the switch, that it goes on," Brownback said. "So as you transition, you need to look at your older plants and shut those down as you build newer more efficient ones."
K-through-12 education funding takes up about half of the state's entire budget. Brownback wants to scrap the state's education formula and start over to give school districts more power to manage their own money.
"I don't want the courts resolving school finance," Brownback said. "It does not belong in the courts. It belongs in the legislative body. That's who, in our constitution, is charged with the power of the purse."
As he transitions from Kansas senator to Kansas governor, Brownback knows how the federal government works. In fact, he says he will continue to push for the repeal of President Obama's health care plan.
"We're already on that trajectory to where the governmental debt will approach $13-trillion, which is roughly the annual economy of everything done in the United States of America," Brownback said. "Now add Obamacare on top of that and it just grows more wildly."
Brownback takes office on January 10. With a half-a-billion dollar hole in the state's budget that needs to be filled, he definitely has a tough road ahead of him.